12 May 2014

African Partners, U.S. Work to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

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A delegation of leaders from 13 African nations met May 9 with U.S. Department of Justice officials to discuss strategies to combat illegal trafficking in wildlife.

The African delegation included wildlife conservation officials, environmental officials and nongovernmental organization leaders and met with acting Assistant Attorney General Robert G. Dreher, trial attorneys and environmental crimes prosecutors from the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

The visitors are participating in the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program on wildlife conservation, anti-poaching and anti-trafficking. Participants learned about U.S. efforts to combat illegal wildlife trafficking and discussed ways to enhance international collaboration to fight the trade, the Justice Department said on its website.

In many parts of Africa, species like the African elephant and the black rhino are threatened with extinction by poachers, often organized and well-armed groups that feed a lucrative international trade in wildlife and wildlife parts.

The Justice Department co-chairs a national task force on wildlife trafficking with the Department of State and the Department of the Interior. The task force includes representatives of other federal departments and executive branch entities and works to carry out the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.

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